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Bizarre Long-Legged, Poop-Eating Rodent on the Loose in Colorado

Last week, Gollum showed up at a Washington State rest stop. This week, there’s a strange-looking, long-legged rodent on the loose at Bear Creek Lake Park in Colorado. It’s a Patagonian mara, and it belongs in South America. And yet, there’s one hanging out in Lakewood, Colorado, giving locals a good time trying to spot it.

Kara Van Hoose with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) told 9 News that CPW has set live-capture traps around the park in hopes they can catch the Patagonian mara and find a safe home for it. It’s likely the animal was someone’s pet that escaped.

Patagonian maras are long-legged rodents that look like a cross between a tall rabbit and a tiny deer with a big head. They have a grayish-brown coat of fur with some white and orange mixed in there, too. They have clawed toes, long ears, and short tails.

These large rodents can grow to be just under 2.5 feet long, and, importantly, they live in Argentina. In their natural habitat, maras live in brush-covered areas and grasslands. They mostly eat grasses, seeds, fruits, and flowers, but they also eat their own poop, you know, “to maximize nutrient absorption.”

Visitors to Bear Creek Lake Park might see the mara hopping or “stotting” around like a deer.

“Maras move in a variety of ways,” says Smithsonian’s National Zoo on its website. “They may walk, hop in a rabbit-like fashion, gallop or stot—a unique form of locomotion typically exhibited by ungulates, where the animal bounces on all fours.”

Watch the news segment here:

If you see this animal, please call CPW at 303-297-1192.

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